Saturday, September 30, 2023

1 year after groundbreaking, water district reports ‘considerable progress’ on reservoir

One year to the day after breaking ground on Lake Ralph Hall, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District is reporting “considerable progress” on the future reservoir.

Lake Ralph Hall will be a 7,600-acre reservoir in southeast Fannin County. It is expected to be completed in 2025 and be delivering water by 2026 to the Upper Trinity Regional Water District and member communities, including Denton County.

Map of Lake Ralph Hall

Major tasks that are about half-done include the construction of a 1.1-mile pedestrian-friendly bridge for Hwy 34 and rerouting a portion of FM 1550, according to Ed Motley, Lake Ralph Hall program manager. Construction on the Leon Hurse Dam is about 10% complete and includes a 2.3-mile-long, 110-foot tall earthen embankment that will form the reservoir. Spillway excavation is nearing completion. Additional components of the project, which are being financed by the Texas Water Development Board, include a raw water pump station, a 32-mile raw water pipeline, a balancing reservoir, an operation/maintenance facility and improvements and upgrades to county roads adjacent to the new reservoir.

Upper Trinity also relocated the popular Ladonia Fossil Park to a temporary location on the north side of the river, east of FM 2990. This new park provides fossil hunters with easier access to the riverbed during construction of the reservoir. A permanent fossil park will be built down river of the Leon Hurse dam once the reservoir is complete.

Lake Ralph Hall will be one of the state’s biggest reservoir projects in nearly 30 years, according to a water district news release. Located on the North Sulphur River in Fannin County just north of the city of Ladonia, Lake Ralph Hall will provide an additional 35 million gallons daily of water and 19 MGD of reuse water for the residents of Denton, Collin and Fannin counties. UTRWD currently serves more than 29 cities, towns and utilities supplying drinking water to close to 300,000 customers. Once complete, the reservoir will offer recreational opportunities including fishing, boating, bird watching, nature trails and more.

“An additional source of water is needed by the mid-2020’s to meet Upper Trinity’s anticipated water service demands,” said Larry Patterson, Upper Trinity’s executive director. “Lake Ralph Hall is the most feasible and cost-effective source of new water available to Upper Trinity, and it can be built in time to avoid a water shortage.”

Lake Ralph Hall was named after Texas’ longtime U.S. Congressman Ralph M. Hall, and its dam named after Ladonia’s visionary mayor Leon Hurse. The lake will provide essential water for UTRWD’s service area, as its population is projected to increase nearly fivefold in the next 50 years.

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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